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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-29

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Tuesday, 29 September 2009 Issue No: 3309

CONTENTS

  • [01] 'Country facing great challenges', PM Karamanlis says
  • [02] PM Karamanlis addresses rally on Rhodes
  • [03] PASOK leader makes statement
  • [04] PASOK leader visits clothing manufacturing unit
  • [05] KKE leader addresses rally in Thessaloniki
  • [06] Tsipras outlines SYRIZA positions on taxation
  • [07] EcoGreens host election campaign bicycle race in Patras
  • [08] Minister comments on first novel influenza incidents in Athens schools
  • [09] Most profitable Greek companies
  • [10] Common Gr-Tr bourse index
  • [11] Market watchdog fines 4 insurance firms total of 32.5 mln euros
  • [12] Stocks end 1.55% higher
  • [13] ADEX closing report
  • [14] Greek bond market closing report
  • [15] Patriarch calls for measures to avert climate change
  • [16] Ecumenical Patriarch to visit Hania
  • [17] NATO Commander for Europe visits Athens
  • [18] Drug arrests on the island of Rhodes
  • [19] Cloudy on Tuesday
  • [20] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] 'Country facing great challenges', PM Karamanlis says

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed a rally in the city of Mytilene, on the Aegean island of Lesvos on Monday evening, ahead of Sunday's general elections, stressing that the country is facing great challenges and that the coming period is crucial for national issues.

    Elaborating on his statement, the prime minister referred to the "pending issue concerning the name of Skopje (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia -FYROM), Greek-Turkish relations and the issue of Cyprus."

    Karamanlis also underlined the development of the economy, stressing that "our possibility of restricting the consequences of the international crisis is at stake."

    The prime minister further noted that "difficulties cannot be handled with pleasant decisions. They are not tackled without a plan. They are not handled with wellwishing. And PASOK (the main opposition party) is not seeking real solutions to the problems of the country. The only thing they care about is power. What they are promising cannot be done. What is being heard from PASOK does not lead to solutions. It leads to deadlocks. Deadlocks for the economy. Deadlocks that will cost the country dearly."

    Sending a message to Turkey, Karamanlis indicated support for the neighbouring country's European orientation, but stressed that "our position is steadfast and clear. It is condensed in one phrase alone: 'Complete compliance-complete accession'. We want a country on our eastern borders that adopts the acquis communautaire. This is in the interests of both its people and of the wider region in its entirety."

    Focusing on the issue of relations with the neighbouring country, Karamanlis pointed out that "the status quo in the Aegean is not changing. And it will not change. Neither with infringements nor with violations, nor with any other provocations. We do not bargain over sovereign rights. We do not abandon our just causes. We do not back down and we do not grant anything."

    Lastly, the prime minister referred to the economy, proposing three axes to overcome the economic crisis: The strict control of public expenditures. The tackling of tax evasion and the promotion of radical structural changes.

    "I told the entire truth and I outlined the difficult policies, the difficult measures that are necessary. I knew and I am very well aware that the path that I have chosen is an uphill one. It is difficult. However, I did not have and I do not have any dilemma absolutely. This is my option. An option of respon-sibility," he concluded.

    [02] PM Karamanlis addresses rally on Rhodes

    Prime Minister and ruling New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis addressed a rally on the Aegean island of Rhodes on Monday evening, in light of Sunday's general elections, stressing that not even one vote must be lost and calling on party supporters to spread the message of victory to every corner of the Dodecannese.

    Karamanlis underlined that ND's economic policy is the only realistic one to enable the country to emerge from the crisis, adding that the main opposition PASOK party is keeping its cards closed and refers only to benefits and wellwishing.

    The prime minister also made special reference to tourism, pointing out that for ND tourism was and shall be among its top priorities and assessing that things will be much better in the coming year.

    Karamanlis mentioned the problem of illegal immigration as well, that the islands of the Aegean are faced with, saying that it was the ND government that had raised the issue with the European Union, calling for necessary measures to be taken since the issue did not concern Greece alone.

    He also referred to projects completed in the Dodecannese in recent years, emphasising the Gadoura dam that had been budgeted at 100 million euros.

    [03] PASOK leader makes statement

    PASOK party leader George Papandreou, in a statement on Monday evening, addressed a message of unity to all Greek men and women, pointing out that the message does not only concern the day of the elections but the day after as well.

    Papandreou stressed that on October 5, the day after the elections, he intends to call on all of the country's political and social forces to discuss what is self-evident and that has to be turned into practice.

    Focusing on Sunday's general elections, Papandreou said that every vote is decisive for the country's present and future, adding that on October 5 Greece will need a government that will work hard.

    Papandreou further said that on Sunday one must decide in which Greece he wishes to live. He underlined that all countries go through a crisis, but what is important is whether they will choose to hide behind the crisis and do nothing or turn the crisis into a decision to change the course towards the future.

    He also noted that his party is proposing radical changes and an integrated plan and it has also submitted integrated proposals on which public dialogue has been based all this time.

    [04] PASOK leader visits clothing manufacturing unit

    A new wind of change is needed for entrepreneurs in Greece, so that they may feel that they can stand on their own two feet, feel that they are not losing what they are investing, and feel that they have a credible state at their side, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Monday, during a campaign visit to a children's clothing manufacturing plant in the working class district of Peristeri.

    Papandreou discussed industry problems and prospects with the employees and representatives of the Athens Chamber of Small and Medium Size Industries (BEA), and said that the state must support the healthy entrepreneurs "not only in words but in action, with rekindling and not a 'freeze', as (ruling New Democracy) ND says".

    Rekindling, he elaborated, means support of the working people, protection of their rights, "and this is what we will do with respect to uninsured work, exhausting wages and working hours, uncontrolled mass layoffs, and even the miserable and clientelistic practices of the STAGE (EU subsidised work experience acquisition programs)," Papandreou said.

    He called the small and medium size enterprise the "spearhead of creation in our country", and thus it was important to back that sector.

    [05] KKE leader addresses rally in Thessaloniki

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing a rally in Thessaloniki on Monday, called on working people, employees, pensioners and owners of small shops who had voted for the two mainstream parties until now to give their vote to KKE.

    Papariga added that New Democracy and PASOK "not only harmed your pocket, not only did they inconvenience you with their policy regarding social security, education, health and foreign policy. They dealt blows at you relentlessly. Trying to impose the conviction everywhere that there is no other path."

    The KKE leader further said that the only difference between ND and PASOK is the struggle for governance, also claiming that ND has currently lost the favour of businessmen that PASOK now has.

    Papariga lastly outlined her party's positions for working people and stressed that a strong KKE is currently the people's realistic response.

    [06] Tsipras outlines SYRIZA positions on taxation

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday stressed the need for tax reforms that redistributed wealth, while presenting the positions of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party alliance in which his party is the largest component member.

    The current taxation system was unfair and disproportionately burdened the weaker social classes, such as wage earners, the low-paid and pensioners, he said.

    Among his proposals was an increase in tax revenues as a percentage of GDP, to match levels in other EU countries, and an inversion of the current proportion of direct to indirect taxation in order to redress the unfairness of the current system, in which he cited the proportion of indirect taxes as close to 60 percent.

    He also stressed the need to reduce the tax burden on wage earners and pensioners, who currently pay 80 percent of all income tax revenues.

    According to Tsipras, the main cause of tax evasion and tax avoidance was the lack of political will to deal with offenders.

    Other reforms proposed by SYRIZA include a higher tax-free allowance to prevent the taxation of income necessary for basic subsistence, set at 16,000 euros per year or a monthly income of 1,143 euros (at 14 wages were annum); more tax brackets that start with low tax rates and are automatically revised according to inflation each year; taxation of property with safeguards to protect small and middle-sized properties and heavier taxation of those possessing large or very large property assets.

    [07] EcoGreens host election campaign bicycle race in Patras

    The Ecologists-Greens party organized a bicycle race in downtown Patras, southern Greece, on Monday within the framework of its election campaign.

    The head of the party's election campaign Nikos Chrysogelos accompanied by party candidates also visited the University Hospital, the "St Andreas" State Hospital and the local Intercity Bus KTEL authority.

    Commenting afterwards, Chrysogelos stressed that the party delegation was briefed on the problems faced by the hospitals, underlining that the EcoGreens pay great attention to primary healthcare.

    [08] Minister comments on first novel influenza incidents in Athens schools

    Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Monday underlined that there is "no reason for concern" when asked about the first novel A-H1N1 influenza incidents recorded at two Athens-area schools, underlining that "parents and students should rest assured that the situation is under control."

    Spiliotopoulos stressed that the ministry in collaboration with the ministry of health and the Athens prefecture decided to close individual classes for a five-day period to avoid any flu outbreak risk, in accordance with the national action plan into effect.

    "The schools are more than prepared to deal with any case, any incident," he said, adding that "a special scientific committee has been set up to codify and record any student absence in schools nationwide." Spilitopoulos stated that the "closing of classes is decided based on the number of influenza incidents recorded."

    Financial News

    [09] Most profitable Greek companies

    Hellenic Telecoms (OTE), National Bank and Cosmote were the most profitable groups in Greece in 2008, a survey on Business Leaders in Greece, published by ICAP Group, announced on Monday.

    ICAP said the survey included the 500 most profitable companies and the 200 most profitable group of companies in Greece based on their EBITDA and balances sheets for the year 2008.

    The 200 most profitable groups recorded a 20-pct increase in annual turnover, while EBITDA fell 9.0 pct in the year, while the 500 most profitable companies reported a 13-pct decline in pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings.

    The top 20 groups accounted for 71 pct of total EBITDA in 2008 and 60 pct of total turnover. Hellenic Telecoms (OTE) was the top group in 2008, followed by National Bank and Cosmote SA.

    ICAP said the 500 most profitable companies recorded a 19-pct increase in turnover hit by higher than expected costs, while the 500 companies accounted for 79 pct of total EBITDA. The 500 companies of this year's list, reported 4.3 billion euros less profits compared with 2007.

    [10] Common Gr-Tr bourse index

    The Greek and Turkish stock markets on Monday officially launched a common market index in cooperation with STOXX Ltd., an international stock market index company.

    The "Greece-Turkey 30" (GT-30) index is the result of cooperation between the two markets and will become an additional investment tool for both private and institutional portfolios wishing to invest in the largest companies listed on the Athens and Istanbul markets.

    A priority of the two stock exchanges is the issuing and listing of negotiable mutual funds and derivative products linked with the new index.

    Spyros Kapralos, president of the Athens Stock Exchange, speaking to CNBC-E television network noted that "we are very happy that our cooperation is sealed today with the issuing of a common index including the top 15 shares from each market".

    Huseyin Erkan, president and chief executive of the Istanbul Stock Exchange said, on his part: "The GT-30 index will definitely add more to the two markets' image, particularly during an era of world markets recovering from a financial crisis last year."

    The index will include the top 15 shares from each market, based on capitalization, with the number of bank shares limited to four from each market. The GT-30 index will be reviewed twice every year (March and September) over its composition and four times each year (March, June, September, December) over the maximum allowed participation rate of each share.

    [11] Market watchdog fines 4 insurance firms total of 32.5 mln euros

    Greece's market watchdog on Monday announced fines totaling 32.5 million euros against four insurance companies for price-fixing practices, urging them to change their practices within a period of three months or face additional fines of 10,000 euros per day.

    The country's Competition Commission said it would fine National General Insurance 13.5 million euors, ATE Insurance (5.3 million euros), Interamerican (8.5 million euros) and Groupama (5.2 million euros) for price-fixing practices in vehicle damage evaluation

    [12] Stocks end 1.55% higher

    Stocks jumped to new 2009 highs at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index of the market rising 1.55 pct to end at 2,652.03 points. Turnover was 235.6 million euros, of which 6.5 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Media (10.35 pct), Chemicals (6.82 pct) and Insurance (6.75 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Utilities (0.44 pct) and Travel (0.24 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.93 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.58 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.04 pct up. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 114 to 99 with another 47 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +6.75%

    Industrials: +0.64%

    Commercial: +1.21%

    Construction: +0.11%

    Media: +10.35%

    Oil & Gas: +1.90%

    Personal & Household: +1.63%

    Raw Materials: +0.91%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.24%

    Technology: +0.15%

    Telecoms: +0.79%

    Banks: +2.45%

    Food & Beverages: +1.31%

    Health: +1.64%

    Utilities: -0.44%

    Chemicals: +6.82%

    Financial Services: +4.89%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Marfin Popular Bank, MIG and Piraeus Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 12.70

    ATEbank: 1.60

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.08

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.95

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.99

    National Bank of Greece: 23.62

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.50

    Intralot: 5.00

    OPAP: 17.22

    OTE: 11.44

    Bank of Piraeus: 12.00

    Titan: 24.32

    [13] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.77 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover a low 63.243 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index was 7,237 contracts worth 50.124 million euros, with 21,861 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 17,933 contracts worth 13.119 million euros, with investment interest focusing on MIG's contracts (3,890), followed by OTE (804), PPC (520), Piraeaus Bank (804), National Bank (2,185), Alpha Bank (830), Intracom (1,108), Marfin Popular Bank (3,317) and ATEbank (1,541).

    [14] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 2.031 billion euros on Monday, of which 1.155 billion were buy orders and the remaining 876 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.634 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 121 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 4.46 percent and the German Bund 3.25 percent.

    In interbank markets, interest rates fell further. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 pct, the six-month rate 1.02 pct, the three-month rate 0.74 pct and the one-month rate 0.44 pct.

    General News

    [15] Patriarch calls for measures to avert climate change

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Vartholomeos) issued an appeal to the international community to take measures to avert "more unfortunate consequences of the climate change" in view of the imminent UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December and an environmental conference in Bangkok.

    "Reaching a good agreement in Copenhagen is a moral obligation in order to save the world and is also the only path to economic and social survival," the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed, adding that "dealing with climate change should not be regarded as economic burden but as an important opportunity for a healthier planet to the benefit of all humanity; the states that are not as developed, in particular."

    "The crucial nature of the situation, and the scientific and technological progress, show that global economy should turn toward renewable energy sources and avert further deforestation," the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed, adding that this is an obligation toward the children of the world.

    [16] Ecumenical Patriarch to visit Hania

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is to visit Hania on the island of Crete on October 6-8 in order to inaugurate meetings of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order Commission taking place on the island.

    Presenting the Patriarch's itinerary during the visit, local authorities and church leaders stressed that the visit was hugely important for the Orthodox Church of Crete.

    [17] NATO Commander for Europe visits Athens

    The chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff General Ioannis Giagkos on Monday held talks with NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral James Stavridis in Athens, discussing matters of mutual military interest and defence policy linked to Greece's membership of NATO.

    General Giagkos outlined Greece's standing positions concerning the country's participation in NATO peace-keeping missions and briefed Admiral Stavridis on the situation in the Aegean.

    During Monday's visit, Stavridis also visited the new Acropolis Museum, while his spouse additionally paid a visit to the Benaki Museum.

    [18] Drug arrests on the island of Rhodes

    A local man, aged 53, and an 18-year-old Albanian national were arrested on drug trafficking charges on the southeastern Aegean island of Rhodes while other three individuals are still wanted, police said on Monday.

    Police found in their possession and confiscated 73.5 kg of cannabis and 3.252 kg of cocaine. The car used by the suspects to transport the drugs from Athens to Rhodes was also impounded.

    Weather Forecast

    [19] Cloudy on Tuesday

    Cloudy weather with possible local showers and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 28C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 18C to 27C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 27C.

    [20] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The two mainstream parties' (ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK) clash over their programmes on the economy, the taxation policy and the STAGE programmes, new flu incidents reported in two schools in Attica and police's investigations on terrorism, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Reversal of political climate in favor of ruling New Democracy (ND,) prime minister Costas Karamanlis' campaign rallies in Patras and Heraklion indicated".

    APOGEVMATINI: "22 (secondary school) pupils ill from the new flu - Athens prefect Yiannis Sgouros decided to close the specific classes in Melissia and Haidari high schools until Friday".

    CHORA: "(Prospect of) Self-sufficient government on the razor's edge - Lack of self sufficient government will lead to a long thriller".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Police walking on the path of fire - With careful steps and well prepared movements, they're attempting to unravel the terrorism reel".

    ELEFTHEROS: "PASOK raid on people's bank deposits - Taxation on interest will reach 35 percent".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "George Papandreou (PASOK leader) speaks to the newspaper regarding the day after the elections".

    ESTIA: "Final stretch to the elections - The negative climate is irreversible".

    ETHNOS: "PASOK's self-sufficiency depends on 11 crucial electorates' results".

    TA NEA: "500 million euros 'gift' with the people's money - The huge scandal with the STAGE (EU subsidised work experience acquisition program)".

    VRADYNI: "Wind of victory - Farmers, youth and middle classes rally around Karamanlis".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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